Southampton manager Ronald Koeman believes the injury return of Alexis Sanchez is the biggest boost for Arsenal ahead of their clash against the Gunners on Tuesday (2 February). The Chilean returned to action as a substitute during the game against Chelsea on 24 January after a two-month spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury he picked up in November 2015.
Sanchez's injury was a big blow for the Gunners and he missed key clashes during the festive period, but he has since returned and was the star of the show when Arsenal beat Burnley 2-1 to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday (30 January).
The Saints beat the north London club 4-0 on Boxing Day at St Mary's and will be looking to do the double in the Premier League title challengers. But the Dutch manager concedes that the Chile international will be difficult to stop and that his long awaited return could be the catalyst Arsenal needed for their battle for the title in the second half of the season.
Koeman is confident that the Emirates Stadium outfit will have a point to prove in front of their fans following their defeat at St Mary's, but he has revealed that they are aware of their weaknesses and have a plan to stop their players from performing their best.
"Sanchez is back and that is for them a big player who will be very important for the last part of the season," Koeman said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"He's one of the players who is difficult to stop because they have so high qualities. He's fast. Technically, he's perfect."
"They have more players, very good midfield players. They have Ozil. They have so many possibilities and players with really high quality. That's Arsenal, and that's why Arsenal is fighting to win the title," he added.
"They will have a revenge feeling what happened on Boxing Day. It will be more difficult this time as they'll want to show their fans they are out for revenge."
"To counter that, we will try and stop the strengths of the Arsenal team, which can be difficult because they have players who can bring high quality in a split second. But we also know their weaknesses because no-one is perfect — except maybe Barcelona! If you saw the second half against Arsenal last time, we punished them with our pace," the Dutch manager explained.